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Fights at bus stop concern students, parents

Posted at 10:35 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 22:35:04-04

A Punta Gorda father is upset with the Charlotte County School District, saying that they aren't doing enough to prevent his daughters from being bullied. Christopher Payne says that cell phone video taken by students at his daughter's bus stop along Sunnybrook Drive shows two sisters picking a fight with his oldest daughter, and that the sisters' mother and grandmother even got into the mix.

"They were calling my daughter derogatory names," Payne said. 

His daughter, Bella, who is in the tenth grade, was waiting for her younger sister at the bus stop, when she said one of the other girls provoked the fight.

"She dropped her stuff and came at me," Bella said. "She swung at me."

The video shows the mother and grandmother of the other girls step in as if to try to stop the fight, but Bella said that they threatened her instead.

"The mom, she came up to me, and she put her forearm up to my neck," Bella said.

Christopher said it wasn't the first run-in Bella abd her younger sister have had with the girls since moving to Charlotte County a year ago. He thinks that the bus driver should have done something to stop the fighting.

"Two days in a row, it happened right in front of the bus," Payne said. "All he did was close the door and keep on driving."

Fox 4 asked Mike Riley, spokesman for the Charlotte County School District, what action the driver took, if any.

"They have a phone to call law enforcement, and they have a radio to contact the transportation department," Riley said. "I'm sure that he did either one, or both of those things."

Reports from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office show that deputies did respond to incidents involving the fights.

Christopher said he was told by a school official that at least one of the girls who fought with his daughter wasn't supposed to be on the bus.

"None of this would have happened if the kids weren't on that bus," he said.

Thursday, a Charlotte County Sheriff's deputy was stationed at the bus stop to ensure that no fighting or bullying took place.